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Updated: 1 min 16 sec ago

Tsonga Beats Evans To Continue Aussie Open Success Highlights

0 sec ago
Watch highlights of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beating Daniel Evans at the 2017 Australian Open. Video courtesy Tennis Australia. Getty Images photo.

Wawrinka Fights Past Seppi To Reach 2017 Aussie Open QFs

0 sec ago
Watch highlights of Stan Wawrinka beating Andreas Seppi to reach the 2017 Australian Open semi-finals. Video courtesy Tennis Australia. Getty Images photo.

Mahut And Herbert Save 3 MP In Melbourne

0 sec ago
Watch highlights of top seeds Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert moving into the doubles quarter-finals at the 2017 Australian Open. Video courtesy Tennis Australia. Getty Images photo.

Federer: I'm Feeling Good About My Chances

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Roger Federer is full steam ahead as he continues his quest for an unprecedented 18th Grand Slam title and fifth at the Australian Open. Tested immediately with back-to-back Top 10 clashes in the third and fourth rounds, Federer has emerged unscathed and looks to be rounding into his top form just in time for the business end of the tournament.

Despite enduring a five-set, three-hour clash with World No. 5 Kei Nishikori, the Swiss believes he is rediscovering his rhythm after ending his 2016 campaign in July due to a knee injury.

"I was playing way better than the first couple of rounds where I put in a lot of mental energy to stay with my opponents, figure them out, how were they going to play, how were the conditions going to be and trying to understand the comeback really," Federer said following a 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 win over Nishikori on Sunday.

"I think now that I'm in the tournament, I was able to focus point per point on my opponent, on the tactics. That didn't drain me much. I felt great in the fifth set, which I'm very happy about.

"[I had] great energy. Even deep into the fourth I thought, 'here we go', no problem for me. I'm feeling good about my chances. I was playing positive tennis. I was playing offensive. My body was reacting."

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The 17th seed next faces one of the big surprises of the tournament, unseeded Mischa Zverev. When the draw was first released, Melbourne Park was abuzz with talk of a potential blockbuster quarter-final clash between Federer and World No. 1 Andy Murray. But Zverev had other plans on Sunday, stunning Murray and booking a date against the four-time champion.

Federer admits that facing a red-hot Zverev will pose its own unique challenges. The German's net-crashing serve-and-volley style is a stark contrast to Murray's backhand-oriented baseline style. Different opponents, different strategies, but Federer will be ready regardless.

"It's going to be completely different to the last couple [of matches]," Federer added. "It's probably going to be more similar to Melzer in the first round, which is good that I played him. I have a lefty in me this tournament already. Tomorrow I'm going to practice with a lefty as well, just to get ready for that.

"I've played him a couple times before, once on grass, once on clay, never on hard courts. Obviously he's on a high right now. He's feeling great. Probably feels the best he's ever felt on a tennis court. That's how I would feel after the win today against Murray."

Federer Claims 200th Top 10 Win

With the top two seeds both failing to reach the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time since 2004 Roland Garros, when Federer and Andy Roddick suffered shock exits, the Swiss benefits greatly. Murray and Novak Djokovic, two of his biggest rivals and often biggest roadblocks to lifting major trophies in recent years, have departed Melbourne Park. Federer says he was surprised by their early exits, but knows well that there are no easy matches at this stage of a Grand Slam.

"That Novak and Andy are not here, that is a big surprise. I never thought that Mischa Zverev and Denis Istomin would beat those two big guys. It's good for tennis that a lot of guys believe now that the top guys are beatable, are vulnerable, especially on a faster court. It happened completely in different circumstances. But two huge surprises. No doubt about that.

"It's going to be tough and different and tricky regardless. That's my mindset."

Zverev Shocks Murray In 4R Australian Open 2017 Highlights

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Watch highlights of Mischa Zverev beating Andy Murray during the fourth round of the 2017 Australian Open. Video courtesy Tennis Australia. Getty Images photo.

Federer Outlasts Nishikori To Reach QFs 2017 Australian Open

0 sec ago
Watch highlights of Roger Federer outlasting Kei Nishikori in the fourth round of the 2017 Australian Open. Video courtesy Tennis Australia. Getty Images photo.

Zverev Had One Plan Against Murray, And It Worked

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Mischa Zverev had a firm game plan on what he'd try to do against Andy Murray during their Australian Open fourth-round match on Sunday. The left-handed German would try to disrupt Murray's rhythm as much as possible, serving and volleying and slicing often against the top seed.

If that didn't work, well, Zverev might have been in trouble. “There was no Plan B, really,” he said. “I can't stay on the baseline, a couple feet behind the baseline, try to out-rally him. He's very strong physically. He has a good baseline game. I knew I had to come in. That was my only chance to win.”

Fortunately for Zverev, the plan worked. The 29 year old shocked the tennis world by beating Murray 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, denying the five-time finalist his eighth consecutive quarter-final appearance at Melbourne Park. Zverev clinched his first last-eight showing at a Grand Slam.

“I believed in myself. I believed in my game,” Zverev said.

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His serve-and-volley game is a throwback to decades past in tennis, when serve and volley was the game and the baseline wars of today were the anomalies. Zverev, though, has a warning for those interested in joining him at the net: Be prepared to be discouraged.

“I feel like it's a very different mindset you need to have as a serve and volleyer,” he said. “I always say it takes longer to develop a serve-and-volley game because eventually you're going to get passed a lot, especially when you're younger and you play top guys.”

It happens when you're older as well. Earlier this month, Zverev faced Rafael Nadal at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp. The Spaniard whipped Zverev 6-1, 6-1 in 55 minutes and won almost 80 per cent of his return points.

“He killed me... I really felt like I had no chance,” Zverev said. “I feel like if you're younger and you feel something like that on the court, you get discouraged quite easily. You change to, 'Let's stay on the baseline, let's try to get somewhat of a rhythm going.'”

But after his loss to Nadal, Zverev stayed with his serve-and-volley plan, and now he's in the quarter-finals of the season's first Grand Slam. That's the key to the serve-and-volley tactic, he said: Sticking with it.

During his Australian Open third-round match against American John Isner, Zverev fell behind two sets to zero. But he didn't retreat to the baseline; he kept charging at the 19th seed and eventually fended off two match points to win 9-7 in the fifth set.

“I was still trying to stick to the same game plan,” he said.

Things can change as match wears on, too, Zverev said. If your opponent is passing you at every opportunity during the first set, his level might drop by the end of the second set. “If it doesn't,” he said, “then you just walk off the court. You say, 'Well done, you passed me too well.'”

Another Milestone For Roger: Swiss Grabs 200th Top 10 Win

2 hours 7 min ago

To be the best, you have to beat the best. Roger Federer has been living by that mantra throughout his storied career and on Sunday the Swiss added yet another milestone to his glittering list of achievements.

Federer became the first active player to win 200 matches against Top 10 opponents, improving to 200-107 (.651) in the FedEx ATP Win-Loss Index with a fourth round victory over World No. 5 Kei Nishikori at the Australian Open. To put that in perspective, Federer's Top 10 victories account for nearly one-fifth of his match wins (1084) in total.

FedEx ATP Performance Zone: Top 10 Wins

"It's great," Federer said following his victory over Nishikori. "I didn't know it going in. I just know I played a lot of tennis. I ran a lot. Obviously I want to play really well against the best players. I was able to do that sometimes, but tonight was special, no doubt about it. Going five against Kei here on Rod Laver Arena with the comeback, it's definitely very special. A fitting way to celebrate that milestone."

The 35 year old has amassed double-digit Top 10 wins in 11 different seasons, which is also most among active players. Moreover, with wins over Nishikori and No. 10 Tomas Berdych this fortnight in Melbourne Park, he has notched multiple Top 10 victories in the same tournament for the 85th time.

Federer's success against Top 10 opposition has never been more evident than at the year-end ATP Finals, where he owns a record 52 wins against the world's best players.

Here are the active leaders:

Active Top 10 Wins Leaders

Player

Win-Loss
Index
Roger Federer
200-107
.651
Novak Djokovic
180-84
.682
Rafael Nadal
140-77
.645
Andy Murray
100-80
.556

Roger's Top 10 Victims
In total, Federer has defeated 41 different Top 10 players, including current and former World No. 1s Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andre Agassi, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Lleyton Hewitt, Carlos Moya, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Gustavo Kuerten, Andy Roddick, Marat Safin and Pete Sampras.

Top 10 Opponent

Wins Against
Novak Djokovic
18
Andy Roddick
17
Andy Murray
13
Juan Martin del Potro
11
Tomas Berdych
10
Rafael Nadal
10
Lleyton Hewitt
9
Andre Agassi
8
Nikolay Davydenko
8
David Nalbandian 8
David Ferrer
7
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6
Carlos Moya
5
Milos Raonic 5
Marat Safin 5 Stan Wawrinka
5 James Blake
4
Juan Carlos Ferrero
4
Tim Henman
4
Ivan Ljubicic
4
Robin Soderling
4
Guillermo Coria
3
Fernando Gonzalez
3
Richard Gasquet
2
Gaston Gaudio
2
Tommy Haas
2
Yevgeny Kafelnikov
2
Gael Monfils
2
Kei Nishikori
2
Jiri Novak
2
Tommy Robredo
2
Janko Tipsarevic
2
Fernando Verdasco
2
Mario Ancic
1
Arnaud Clement
1
Alex Corretja
1
Mardy Fish 1 Nicolas Kiefer
1
Gustavo Kuerten
1
Magnus Norman
1
Pete Sampras
1

Fans React To Zverev Win Over Murray Australian Open 2017

2 hours 17 min ago
Fans at Melbourne Park react to the shock exit of World No. 1 Andy Murray at the hands of Mischa Zverev.

Murray: 'It Just Wasn't To Be Today'

2 hours 34 min ago

Andy Murray's first Australian Open title will have to wait another year after the Scot fell to German Mischa Zverev 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 during the fourth round. But Murray didn't have a list of excuses or regrets to discuss following his earliest exit in Melbourne since 2009, when he also lost in the Round of 16.

“I had some opportunities at the end. I think the last two service games I had chances. Maybe three service games in the last set I had opportunities,” Murray said. “But then he came back from all of the mistakes that he made, kept coming up with great shots. There's not too much you can do about that. Sometimes you got to say, 'Well played'. It was obviously disappointing to lose. But he did some good stuff out there.”

Zverev charged the net 118 times against Murray, winning 55 per cent of those approaches. Overall, Zverev won almost more points at the net – 65 – than he did elsewhere – 81.

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“He came up with some great pickups, reflex volleys, especially at the end of the match when it was tight. That was tough because I was hitting some good shots, chasing some good balls down,” Murray said. “Just wasn't meant to be. He served very well when he needed to, especially when he was behind in games. He deserved to win because he played great when he was down and also in the important moments.”

Murray was attempting to reach the quarter-finals for an eighth straight year and reach the Australian Open final for the sixth time. The 29 year old has finished as runner-up in Melbourne a record five times, losing to Roger Federer in 2010 and Novak Djokovic in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016. Had Murray won, he would have faced Federer in the quarter-finals.

“Did I miss an opportunity? I don't know. Every year you come is a different chance, different opportunity,” Murray said. “There are certainly no guarantees, even if I got through today's match, that I would have gone further. Yeah, it's disappointing to lose. I don't feel like this is any more of an opportunity than other years.

“I don't think I was flat... I was getting myself pumped up. Sometimes at the end of the sets I was trying to get a little more energy, show more positive body language. And I did that at the end of the match, at the end of the first and second sets. It just wasn't to be today.”

Federer Outlasts Nishikori For Quarter-Final Berth

3 hours 53 min ago

Roger Federer dug in his heels to stop Kei Nishikori on Sunday at the Australian Open, rallying past the fifth seed 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 in three hours and 23 minutes. Federer secured a milestone 200th win over a Top 10 opponent, becoming the first active player to achieve the feat.

"He played his heart out and I thought he played a great match, I'm happy to be a part of it," said Federer. "He was hanging tough and playing really well on the big points. I was telling myself to stay calm and this is what I trained for in the offseason. This is a big moment for me in my career."

The four-time champion exhibited great resolve in fighting back for his 25th career five-set victory. He will feature in the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park for the 13th time in the last 14 years, with a date against Mischa Zverev awaiting on Tuesday. Federer won their previous two FedEx ATP Head2Head encounters, most recently on the grass of Halle in 2013.

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Federer fired a staggering 83 winners, including 24 aces, while converting seven of 18 break chances. But it wasn't all smooth sailing for the 17th seed. Striking the ball with conviction and peppering the Federer backhand early and often, Nishikori burst out of the gates, breaking twice in a row for a 5-1 first-set lead. The Japanese was more aggressive in the initial stages, jumping on Federer's second serve and crashing the net frequently.

But the Swiss stayed the course, slowly chipping away at Nishikori's lead and eventually drawing level at 5-all. Nishikori would take the opener in a tie-break, but momentum had swung firmly in his opponent's corner. Federer streaked to a two-sets-to-one lead and later snatched a quick break for 2-0 in the decider, after Nishikori sent the match the distance. He would emerge victorious on his first match point with an emphatic overhead smash.

"I didn't expect him to play this well from the start and that put me on the back foot for the remainder of the match to some extent," added Federer. "But I was able to wrestle it back in my favour. I got myself into the match and started to play the good sets that I knew I could. The question was could I hang with Kei until the very end. I was able to do that, so I'm super happy.

"You have a game plan and he's got a game plan. Sometimes it doesn't match up the right way for you. He was quick out of the blocks. I was accepting it and moving on with it, trying to at least find some sort of a rhythm going into the second set... I was still upbeat about my chances after that first set. I think it gave me something coming back into that set actually."

But the Swiss stayed the course, slowly chipping away at Nishikori's lead and eventually drawing level at 5-all. Nishikori would take the opener in a tie-break, but momentum had swung firmly in his opponent's corner. Federer streaked to a two-sets-to-one lead and later snatched a quick break for 2-0 in the decider, after Nishikori sent the match the distance. He would emerge victorious on his first match point with an emphatic overhead smash.

Federer improved to 5-2 against Nishikori in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, meeting for the first time since the Swiss prevailed in their group stage match at the 2015 ATP Finals. The Japanese saw his three-match win streak in five-setters snapped, falling to 14-6 in his career. According to the FedEx ATP Performance Zone, his impressive 100-31 (.763) career record in deciding-set matches remains tops among all players in the Open Era. Learn More

"I'm really disappointed to lose like this, especially after I started really well," said Nishikori, who exited in the Aussie Open fourth round for the third time in five years. "I missed some chances from 5-2 in the first set and I think I let him come back. He was playing good tennis especially in the middle, the second and third sets. I maybe had some chances in fifth set to come back in the match, but he was way too strong."

Tsonga Continues Melbourne Success

6 hours 28 min ago

No. 12 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga continued his love affair with the Australian Open on Sunday, not dropping serve as he thrilled the Melbourne crowd with a tight 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 fourth-round win over Daniel Evans on Hisense Arena.

The 2008 runner-up is into the quarter-finals here for the first time since 2013. Tsonga now plays fourth seed Stan Wawrinka for a place in the last four. The Swiss star leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 4-3 and has won their past three matches.

"It's going to be a tough match," said Tsonga. "I know he's playing really good. It's going to be important for me to be good in this match and play my best level.

"I think I will be ready. It's going to be a good challenge for me to play against Stan."

Evans was competing in the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time, having stunned Marin Cilic and Bernard Tomic at Melbourne Park. He had reached his first ATP World Tour final last week in Sydney (l. to Muller). 

The Briton continued his hot form against Tsonga, striking first in the tie-break by taking a 3/1 lead and holding his slight advantage the rest of the way. Tsonga responded brilliantly by racing to a 4-0 lead in the second set and ultimately levelling the match at one set each.

The Frenchman broke Evans immediately to start off the third set. Little separated the pair, but that early advantage was all Tsonga needed to take a commanding lead. The fourth set was nearly identical, with Tsonga grabbing an early break and comfortably serving out the match to love to prevail in two hours and 53 minutes.

"Before the match I knew if it started to be really physical, it was going to be on my side, I think," said Tsonga. "That's what happened. So the first set was difficult. Then I played pretty strong and made him run a lot in the second set.

"I just served really well, too. Then it was an advantage for me. I didn't have to defend too many break points. That was an advantage for me."

The 31-year-old Tsonga, who finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic in his lone Grand Slam final at Melbourne Park in 2008, is bidding to reach his first major semi-final since Roland Garros 2015, when he fell to Wawrinka. 

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Zverev Stuns Murray To Reach First Major QF

Sun, 22/01/2017 - 10:28pm
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The fairytale run continued for Mischa Zverev as he produced a bold display of tennis on Sunday to shock top seed Andy Murray 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 in the fourth round of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

"It was definitely the best match of my life," said Zverev. "Not only because it was a best-of-five set match, it was at a slam. It was just incredible."

It was an inspired serve-and-volley performance from Zverev, who had watched from the player box as his younger brother, Alexander Zverev, pushed Rafael Nadal to five sets on Saturday. With the win, Mischa Zverev moves into his first Grand Slam quarter-final. He now plays No. 17 seed Roger Federer, who beat fifth seed Kei Nishikori 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-1 4-6, 6-3. Federer leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 2-0.

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Competing in the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time, Zverev was unawed by his surroundings on Rod Laver Arena. He rallied from 0-3 down in the first set by forcing Murray out of his game and even producing some vintage serve-and-volley moments, ultimately grabbing the opening set.

Australian Open 2017 Highlights">Watch Highlights

But Murray was not going to go away quietly. Although both players struggled on serve in the second set, with five of the 12 games highlighted by service breaks, the top seed was able to take control in most of the baseline rallies. With Zverev serving at 5-6, Murray rifled a backhand winner on his first set point to level the match at one set each.

Zverev cleaned up his serve considerably in the third set, landing 74 per cent of his first serves. He also continued to put pressure on Murray with his return, breaking the top seed twice to take a commanding advantage in the match.

The German opened up the fourth set with an early break of serve and held his slight advantage the rest of the way. Serving for the match at 5-4, a forehand error from Murray wrapped up the contest in three hours and 33 minutes.  

"I believed in myself. I believed in my game," said Zverev. "I believed that playing serve and volley against him and slicing a lot, trying to destroy his rhythm was going to work, which it did in the end.

Read More: Zverev Had One Plan Against Murray, And It Worked

"I felt comfortable going for three, four sets, even though it wasn't that hot, but it was still pretty warm. I felt like I could hang in there with him,  sometimes rally and come in quickly. I feel like everything just worked out well."

The win records a remarkable career turnaround over the past two years for Zverev, who was ranked No. 1,067 in the Emirates ATP Rankings in March 2015. The 29 year old made great strides back up the standings in 2016, returning to the Top 100 after a run to the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Rolex Masters (l. to Djokovic) and closing in on the Top 50 after making the semi-finals of the Swiss Indoors Basel (l. to Cilic). 

Zverev was competing in the round of 16 at a major for the first time after saving two match points to topple John Isner in five sets in the second round.

Wawrinka Fights Past Seppi

Sun, 22/01/2017 - 9:44pm

Fourth seed Stan Wawrinka survived a tight battle against Andreas Seppi on Sunday at the Australian Open in Melbourne, moving into the quarter-finals with a 7-6(2), 7-6(4), 7-6(4) win on Margaret Court Arena.

"I think this match was the best match of the tournament so far," said Wawrinka, who was taken to five sets by Martin Klizan in the first round. "I know that my level is there, that physically I'm feeling good. So most important is to win, to still be in the tournament.

"I'm really happy to make the quarter-finals again. It's a big result. I'm going to enjoy tonight and get ready for the next one."

Both players lost their serve once in the opening set, but mainly traded routine service holds. The Swiss star found a new gear in the tie-break, winning the final six points to grab the opening set. Wawrinka and Seppi didn’t drop serve in the second set, but it was the fourth seed who once again came out on top in the tie-break to take a commanding two-sets lead.

Seppi had a chance to serve out the third set after breaking his opponent at 5-5, but was unable to capitalise on a set point opportunity. Wawrinka went on a five-point run in the tie-break to lead 6/3 and made good on his second match point to wrap up the win in two hours and 43 minutes.

"It was a tough and close match, that's for sure," said Wawrinka. "Three tie-breaks, almost three hours. It was very close.

"I think we both played really well. Tough conditions. Good conditions, but quite fast. So it was interesting to play against him. I think I found a good way how to be aggressive, to mix the speed on the court today on important points, important moments, and to take advantage of that.

"I'm really happy with the level and to have won in three sets."

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Next up for the 2014 Australian Open champion is the winner between No. 12 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Daniel Evans. Wawrinka leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Tsonga 4-3 and has won their past three matches. He also leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head with Evans 1-0, saving a match point in defeating the Brit in the third round of the 2016 US Open

Herbert/Mahut Save 3 M.P. In Melbourne

Sun, 22/01/2017 - 9:17pm

Top seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut saved three match points on Sunday to move into the doubles quarter-finals at the Australian Open, while local wild card pairings Marc Polmans/Andrew Whittington and Alex Bolt/Bradley Mousley delighted the home crowd by also reaching the last eight.

Herbert/Mahut were perilously close to defeat with No. 16 seeds Dominic Inglot/Florin Mergea holding three match points on their serve at 5-4 in the second set, but the French pair fought them off to grab the break and took control of the match to prevail 2-6, 7-5, 6-2. The top seeds are looking for their first title in Melbourne, having previously finished runner-up here in 2015 (l. Bolelli/Fognini).

Next up for them are Polmans/Whittington, who continued their dream run by defeating No. 11 seeds Jean-Julien Rojer/Horia Tecau 7-6(5), 7-6(5). Polmans is making his Grand Slam main draw debut at this tournament, while Whittington reached the doubles quarter-finals here in 2014 (w/Bolt).

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Bolt/Mousley survived an epic 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 battle against Americans Sam Querrey/Donald Young. Little separated the two teams, but the Aussies grabbed the essential break in the final game of the match to wrap up the win. Mousley is also making his Grand Slam main draw debut this fortnight.

Standing between them and a spot in the final four is Pablo Carreno Busta/Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who advanced 7-6(6), 6-4 in an all-Spanish battle against fifth seeds Feliciano Lopez/Marc Lopez. Carreno Busta/Garcia Lopez saved a set point at 5/6 in the opening set tie-break. This is the best doubles result for both players in Melbourne, but they’ll look to at least match their runner-up showing at the 2016 US Open (l. Murray/Soares). 

Seppi Searching For Another Melbourne Upset Australian Open 2017

Sun, 22/01/2017 - 8:34am
Some of Andreas Seppi's biggest wins have come at the Australian Open and the Italian is gearing up for another upset when he faces Stan Wawrinka in the fourth round at Melbourne Park.

Alex Bublik King Of Tricks

Sun, 22/01/2017 - 7:02am
Check out the tennis tricks that NextGenATP Alex Bublik has got on the back streets of Melbourne.

Dimitrov Breezes Into Round Of 16 At 2 A.M.

Sun, 22/01/2017 - 6:20am

Grigor Dimitrov was eager to avoid a late-night marathon at the Australian Open on Saturday, dispatching 18th seed Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in two hours and two minutes to advance to the fourth round.

After Rafael Nadal's five-set victory over Alexander Zverev extended the day session on Rod Laver Arena, Dimitrov and Gasquet didn't get underway until 11:58 p.m. local time in Melbourne. The seventh battle between two of the more majestic one-handed backhands on tour would go the way of the Bulgarian in convincing fashion. He fired 48 winners, including 11 aces, while turning aside six of seven break points faced. He continued his impressive start to the season, remaining undefeated (8-0) after lifting his fifth ATP World Tour trophy in Brisbane two weeks ago.

The lead changed hands early in the first set, but a break to love for 5-3 gave Dimitrov the decisive advantage. He would escape a 0/40 hole in the next game and eventually closed out the opener on his fourth set point. Dimitrov was off to the races from there, breaking immediately to open the second set and once again in the seventh game to take a commanding two-set lead.

A rifled backhand winner and Gasquet unforced error would hand the 15th seed the lead in the opening game of the third set and he did not look back, securing the victory at exactly 2:00 a.m. on his second match point. The record for latest finish at Melbourne Park is 4:33 a.m., set by Lleyton Hewitt and Marcos Baghdatis in a 2008 third-round thriller.

"Lately I've been struggling with my sleeping and going to bed late, so this is great," Dimitrov joked. "It's my first win on this court so I'm embracing this moment. Thanks to all the fans who stayed here.

"A match like that, it helps me. It helps me to have more confidence, to feel better on the court, more secure in my shots. Just a lot of positives. I take a lot of positives out of that match. The first couple of matches were so-so in my opinion. To be able to come out tonight and step up against a player like Richard, it means a lot to me and gives me good credit. At the same time I just need to focus now, just need to keep the same line, just control what I can."

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It was Dimitrov's second straight victory over Gasquet, having most recently prevailed at the Shanghai Rolex Masters in October. The Frenchman had previously won their first five FedEx ATP Head2Head encounters from 2011-15.

Dimitrov will feature in the Round of 16 at the Australian Open for the third time in four years. His best finish came in 2014, when he upset Milos Raonic en route to the quarter-finals (l. to Nadal). He will look to match that result with a win over wild card Denis Istomin on Monday. It will be just their second encounter.

Istomin continued his dream run in Melbourne by reaching the second week here for the first time in 11 attempts. Two days after his monumental five-set win over second seed and two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic, the wild card prevailed 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 over Pablo Carreno Busta.

"It was mentally tough because after beating Novak I didn't want to lose three sets in a row, and then everybody saying that I'm was too tired," Istomin said. "I recovered well. I was ready for the match. I think I played good, as well. The conditions were different. The centre court is much slower than that court. So my return wasn't working like with Novak. Carreno Busta is a big server. But in the end I'm happy to win."

Watch Highlights: Istomin Battles Past Carreno Busta

Istomin fired 16 aces and 51 winners throughout the match, but was most impressive with his stamina. He still looked fresh deep in the fifth set while the Spaniard appeared tired from the hours of long baseline rallies. Istomin raced through the final four games of the match, converting his second match point on a backhand error from Carreno Busta.

The 30 year old from Uzbekistan will aim to reach his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final against Dimitrov.

"With Grigor, I think I beat him when he was like 17 in a Challenger," Istomin added. "It was a tough match. But I lost to him in Shanghai [in 2014]. He's been in the Top 10 so I will try to play like I played with Novak and today, and we will see."

Zverev Feeling Positive Despite Loss To Nadal

Sun, 22/01/2017 - 4:50am

Alexander Zverev had Rafael Nadal on the ropes again. The 19-year-old German led the Spaniard two sets to one on Saturday during their third-round match at the Australian Open.

But for the second time in the past 11 months, Nadal rallied to come back against Zverev, sending the #NextGenATP star home after a 4-6, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-2 win that lasted more than four hours.

Zverev, however, felt positive about the performance. “Even now I'm disappointed, but I know that this was a great match. That was a great fight. There are a lot of positives in this match. I think he's probably one of the fittest tennis players in the history of the game,” Zverev said. “Obviously I wanted to win. I could have won. It's disappointing. But I'm fine actually.”

Zverev was trying to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time. The 24th seed was also looking to earn his fourth consecutive win against a Top 10 opponent. In September, he beat then-No. 3 Stan Wawrinka and then-No. 9 Tomas Berdych en route to his first ATP World Tour title at the St. Petersburg Open. Two weeks later, Zverev outlasted then-No. 10 Dominic Thiem at the China Open in Beijing.

Read Match Report: Nadal Survives Zverev In Melbourne

Zverev had been even closer to beating Nadal last year at the BNP Paribas Open, the first meeting of their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry. Zverev held a match point against Nadal but eventually fell 6-7(8), 6-0, 7-5 to the left-hander from Mallorca.

“I am close. I kind of showed it a few times last year, and this now,” Zverev said. “We played for over four hours. It was not an easy match. There are a few things here and there I could do better. All in one, I think I'm pretty happy with my performance.”

Reaching the third round is Zverev's best result Down Under. He fell in the first round to Andy Murray last year during his main draw debut. In 2015, Zverev lost in the first round of qualifying.

The 6'6” right-hander figures to be a top contender at another big event this season, the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals, to be held 7-11 November in Milan, Italy. The top seven players in the Emirates ATP Race To Milan will qualify; the eighth player will be chosen by wild card.

“I absolutely love tennis. I absolutely love the process. It's exciting for me,” Zverev said. “I think I can see how I'm getting better. I can see how I'm getting better in five sets. It's exciting. I think it's going to be an exciting year for me.”

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Aussie Duo Lead Third Round Doubles Charge

Sun, 22/01/2017 - 3:34am

The home nation will be well-represented in the third round of the Australian Open doubles draw, as Sam Groth and Chris Guccione stunned 10th seeds Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi 7-6(10), 7-6(5) on Saturday at Melbourne Park. The unseeded duo, winners of two ATP World Tour titles together, join the Aussie wild card teams of Marc Polmans/Andrew Whittington and Alex Bolt/Bradley Mousley in the Round of 16.

Groth and Guccione needed just under two hours to move on, launching 17 aces, while saving all three break points faced. For Groth, it is the 29 year old's third straight appearance in the doubles Round of 16 at Melbourne Park, having advanced as far with Eric Butorac in 2015 and Lleyton Hewitt last year. The Aussies will face Marcus Daniell and Marcelo Demoliner next, after the Kiwi-Brazilian pair stunned sixth seeds and ATP Finals runners-up Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram 6-1, 7-6(4).

Also advancing to the third round at Melbourne Park were top seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut. The reigning Wimbledon champions made quick work of Jerzy Janowicz and Marcin Matkowski 6-3, 6-2, setting a date with 16th seeds Dominic Inglot and Florin Mergea. Six-time champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, seeded third, also needed just over an hour to prevail on Saturday. The American twins downed Nenad Zimonjic and Mischa Zverev 6-3, 6-2.

Fifth seeds Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez set an all-Spanish third round clash against US Open finalists Pablo Carreno Busta and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, defeating Jonathan Eysseric and Fabrice Martin 6-4, 6-4. The Spaniards advanced after 73 minutes, converting three of six break chances.

Rounding out the Round of 16 field were seventh seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo, 6-4, 7-6(3) winners over Nicholas Monroe and Artem Sitak, as well as the Colombian power of Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, who rallied past Serbians Dusan Lajovic and Viktor Troicki 2-6, 7-5, 6-0.